Jeff Lake, former COO for Duncan Aviation's Lincoln, Nebraska facility, has taken over day-to-day responsibility for the entire company as former president Aaron Hilkemann stepped back to the newly-created, part-time role of CEO and chairman of the Duncan Aviation board of advisors.
Lake joined Duncan Aviation in 1993 as controller and soon became VP of finance. He was promoted to CFO in 1998 and assumed his most recent role of COO for Lincoln in 2008. He has also been active in both aviation and non-aviation boards/committees including the United Way, CASA for Children, GAMA maintenance committee and the Boeing customer advisory board.
In February, Hilkemann, who has been with Duncan Aviation since 1995 when he joined the company as executive vice president and COO, announced his upcoming plans to semi-retire and made public the planned succession of Lake to the president position.
“I am very appreciative to have had the guidance of Aaron and the entire senior management team during my career at Duncan Aviation,” Lake says. “Working together with them for years and facing numerous challenges and celebrations prepared me to coordinate active discussion and develop ongoing strategy for our team members and customers. It is obvious that our industry has challenges, but I am confident that working together, Duncan Aviation and business aviation will find opportunities and solutions that will ultimately make us stronger and more resilient.”
As Lake has stepped away from the COO role in Lincoln, Mike Minchow, Duncan Aviation vice president of modifications and engineering, has taken on those additional responsibilities.
Bill Prochazka, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Duncan Aviation's Provo, Utah, facility, also retired at the end of June. Chad Doehring, formerly vice president of operations in Provo, was tapped many months ago to fill the COO role as Prochazka retired and has worked closely with him for years on the planning, construction, recruiting and staffing of the new Provo maintenance, modifications and paint complex that was completed this spring.
Finally, Ryan Huss was selected to fill the newly created role of director of sales and serve on the company's senior management team overseeing the Duncan Aviation sales teams. Huss served 7.5 years in the US Air Force before joining Duncan Aviation. He started at Duncan Aviation as an airframe technician and over the past 19 years has held the positions of airframe lead tech, airframe team leader, Bombardier airframe service sales rep and, most recently, airframe and engine sales manager.
Todd Duncan, chairman of the board of directors for Duncan Aviation and grandson of Duncan Aviation founder Donald Duncan, says: “In some organisations, transitions are stressful and contain uncertainty. That is not the case here because we talk a lot about leaving lasting legacies and whenever possible, our transitions are carefully crafted and strategically planned with approval from our senior management team, our external board of advisors, and our internal board of directors. All of these changes have been in work for some time; the transitions were all planned and now it was time to implement them. I am excited for the future and am certain that with these new leaders at the helm, Duncan Aviation will continue to find success and support our customers' needs with high-quality products and services for many years to come.”